Waukesha County tests salt water plow method

CREATED Dec. 19, 2012

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  • Tom Murray reports. Video by wtmj.com

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ELM GROVE - Terry Wussow bought several bags of sand from Elliott’s Ace Hardware to weigh down the back of his truck in anticipation of the forecasted snow.
 
“You’ve got to be cautious.  But, on the other hand, anyone who’s lived here for awhile knows you just have to slow down,” Wussow said.
 
To make roads safer, municipal plows across Wisconsin are loaded with the same salt they have always used, except for one truck in Waukesha County.
 
The Waukesha County Highway Department is trying something new with this one plow.  It will spray brine on the roads.  The liquid is a heavily concentrated salt water.
 
“Really our benefit is saving salt,” said the department’s Peter Chladil.  “In the little bit of storm we had yesterday, this truck went through an equivalent of six tons of salt.  We had other trucks that went through similar size, 12, 14, 18 tons of salt.”
 
This brine system uses far less salt than the traditional trucks.  The county will watch closely to see if it is effective.  If it is, the method could save taxpayer money.
 
County leaders believe that salt water treatment will especially effective during lighter snowfalls.  They plan to report their results to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.